Kumi Naidoo: Will world leaders hear this global wakeup call?

Friday 18 September 2009 18:14 BST

Next week President Obama and more than 100 world leaders gather at the United Nations in New York for the Climate Summit, in what will be an intriguing precursor to December’s crucial climate talks in Copenhagen.

The backdrop to the New York talks paints a picture of intense public pressure as citizens around the world continue to call on heads of state to attend December’s climate change talks in Copenhagen. United under the banner of the TckTckTck campaign their message to world leaders is clear: secure a fair, ambitious and binding climate deal.

Throughout this weekend and into next week mass participatory global wakeup calls will be witnessed in more than 1,400 unique events in 962 cities spread across 103 countries across the world. Celebrities, political leaders and thousands of individuals concerned about climate change will be involved in more than 1,400 TckTckTck climate change events. In London, people will gather in Parliament Square on Monday to send a message to Gordon Brown. Around the globe some of the world’s best known NGOs, trade unions and individuals have organised similar events. Avaaz, Oxfam, WWF, Greenpeace, Christian Aid and others are working tirelessly with their members and through their spheres of influence to ensure next week’s global wakeup call will be heard.

The TckTckTck campaign is calling for developed countries to reduce emissions by at least 40% by 2020, and to enable and support poor countries to adapt to the worst consequences of the climate crisis and reduce their emissions and secure technology investment through the provision of sufficient public funds. It is asking heads of state to create a pathway to clean jobs and clean energy for all and to establish conditions for a sustainable and prosperous future for our planet. Not least, TckTckTck is asking heads of state to come to Copenhagen in person and agree to a legally binding international climate agreement that is fair ambitious and binding.

Reaching agreement on a strong deal in Copenhagen is urgent; the impacts of climate change are already being felt around the world. Floods, droughts, hurricanes, sea-level rise, and seasonal unpredictability – hallmarks of climate change – are affecting people's rights to life, security, food, water, health, shelter and culture across the world. With an average temperature rise of less than 1C climate change already kills more than 300,000 people each year.

However, should heads of state choose to hear the global wakeup call there is still time to build a greener, safer world. But the clock is ticking. The massive mobilization of people across a broad cross-section of society is signalling to governments that they can and must go further than they have been prepared to do before.

Kumi Naidoo is chairman of the Global Campaign for Climate Action – coordinators of TckTckTck www.tcktcktck.org

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